Since most of us will be staying home for Christmas this year, there’s no better time to snuggle up with your family and friends with a Christmas film. Here is a list of our top picks of unconventional films and holiday classics to watch.
Read more: Best Christmas displays in Hong Kong
Nightmare before Christmas
A Halloween and a Christmas movie all rolled into one, Nightmare before Christmas is a record-breaking animated film. Originally produced by Tim Burton, it was the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Visual Effects. It is also the first stop-motion animated feature to be converted to 3D and re-released by Disney. The film is set in Halloween Town in a fantasy world, with Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King attempting to take over Christmas.
Netflix has no shortage of Christmas films, and its newest addition is Holidate. This American romantic comedy is originally adapted from a screenplay. Starring Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey as two people agreeing to be each other’s ‘platonic’ holiday dates. It is pretty much implied that the holidates will not stay platonic longer than halfway through the film. That’s the best thing about Christmas films though – who doesn’t want a cheesy love story?
Black Mirror: White Christmas
If you don’t feel like going for comedy, how about some dystopian sci-fi? Black Mirror had a holiday special back in season two, which quickly became one of its most popular episodes. White Christmas is one of three mini-stories featuring Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall who work at a remote outpost in the snowy wilderness. On Christmas Day, they start discussing the reasons behind them taking up the job. Their dark pasts are slowly revealed in a classic Black Mirror fashion. There is also a massive twist in the end that plays with the perception of reality, so be prepared to get your mind blown.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
This film slipped our minds at first, but thinking back it’s actually quite a Christmas-y film. When Lucy first enters the mythical land of Narnia, she is told that it is “always winter but never Christmas.” We probably all remember the evil White Witch and the true King of Narnia, Aslan, but it was actually Father Christmas who gave the children tools to save the world. Hopefully watching this film can also save 2020 for us.
The Bridget Jones’s franchise
Probably one of our absolute favourites for Christmas time, any of the three Bridget Jones movies is perfect for a Christmas screening. There’s Renée Zellweger’s British accent to admire, Colin Firth’s English gentleman etiquette to learn from and Hugh Grant’s breathtaking good looks to sigh after. Who knows, maybe you can watch all three in a marathon.
All’s Well, Ends Well (1992)
This recurring New Years film is a Hong Kong tradition, where multiple stars collaborated on a movie to celebrate the New Year. The 1992 version based its story around Christmas, breaking record sales during its time. It features the likes of Leslie Cheung, Stephen Chow, Maggie Cheung and Sandra Ng, all superstars that once dominated Hong Kong acting scene.
The film is about three brothers searching for their one true love and obviously, Christmas is the time when they finally meet their respective matches. It may sound like a cliché, but the film is embedded with tons of slapstick comedy that turns the cliché idea into one of Hong Kong’s best classics.
If you’re in the mood for some intense and very American romantic comedy, consider watching Why Him? The plot is simple, a father tries to stop his daughter’s millionaire boyfriend from asking her to marry him. But as these American movies go, you know its going to be a huge obstacle race before the father gives him his blessing. Get ready for a huge amount of awkwardness, cringe-worthy moments and a hell of a ride.
What is Christmas without a bit of Will Farrell? As one of his best performances, Elf is one of the greatest Christmas films of all time. The story surrounds Buddy, a human raised by Santa’s elves who goes in search of his biological father. Of course, he heads out to New York City for his search and ends up spreading Christmas cheer throughout the concrete jungle. Christmas cheer is defined in the only way Farrell’s man-child character can define, in the most exaggerated feel-good way.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Another brilliant actor who made a legendary character come to life is Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The feature film is based on Dr Seuss’s book, with added back stories to the characters and new rhymes to lengthen the film. The green skin and furry fingers won the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 2000. If you want something more modern and child-friendly, you can always opt for the animated version The Grinch produced by Illumination.
Home Alone franchise
The most Christmas-y of all Christmas movies is the Home Alone franchise. Arguably only the first two Home Alone films count because they are the only ones with most of the original cast. If you somehow don’t know the plot, it’s about an eight-year-old boy who is accidentally left home alone. He defends his home from two burglars whilst his family is on vacation. The film premiered 1990 and remained the highest grossing holiday film until The Grinch took over in 2018.